Romantic sunsets

As per my standard DIY, the job I did a week ago on the alternator for the domestic batteries didn’t last.  So on Tuesday morning I spent a bit of time in the freezing engine bay doing the job a second time.  I must admit that things seem OK this time but saying that has probably jinxed it.  Later, over coffee and blueberry fruit bars, we were chatting about the next leg of our journey and what we have to look forward to in Birmingham and on the journey there.  We hadn’t realised that there used to be 160 miles of canals in Birmingham.  There are still 100 in use which is far more than Venice!

Unlike some areas we only had a little light snow so set off to walk the three miles to see how the lock works are getting on at Fradley junction.  Sorry to go on about yet again but the sky was beautiful.

This is the first time we have seen a lock iced over: there’s usually some flow which prevents freezing. 

The ducks weren’t too happy about it.

Here is the lock that has been closed for six weeks and due to open next Monday.  I was happy to see my beloved stanking planks holding the water back.  This is one of the five locks on the flight through Fradley junction.

Fradley is quite famous canal-wise and gets packed with tourists in the summer.  We treated ourselves in the café at the Canal & River Trust yard. 

Poor old Karen, she was the only non-retiree in there apart from a young girl with a baby.  To console herself she had to have a hot chocolate.  Here she is sending a picture of it to Catherine and Jojo to make them jealous.

The pub down on the left has live jams on Thursday evenings.  We checked what was on this coming Thursday and unfortunately it’s folk.  Never mind it looks a great little pub so we may just make it anyway.

We had a look around the junction which is a bit like an outdoor museum where most things are still in use.

The signpost shows Coventry where we came from the South; Shardlow where we went east to Nottingham and Great Haywood to the North West where the canal meets the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal which is where we will be heading next.

When we got back I cut up all the remaining logs and Karen prepared beef parikash for our evening meal.  These swans were attracted by the wonderful smell it seems.

By four o’clock it looked like a summer’s evening and we both fancied having a cruise so we went along the river intending to moor at Alrewas.  It was bitterly cold but the sunset was gorgeous.  We were so happy as there is nothing better than cruising in the evening sunset; it feels really romantic.  We are often jealous of people cruising past us once we are moored for the day.  

This is when we set off.

We passed these fields which were still partly flooded.
And we had to be careful to avoid this tree.

When we got through this lock we were back on the canal which was completely frozen over.  Karen's saying, 'Hurry up, dinner's in the oven".

Steering was really difficult in the unbroken ice so we moored up as soon as we could.  A guy called Woody got off his boat and used his pole to smash the ice and move it away from the side so we could get in and moor. It took rather a long time; the ice was over an inch thick which doesn’t sound much but shifting 70 feet of it away so we can pull in takes some doing.

The broken pieces of ice slide on top or under the unbroken ice making it even thicker and thus more difficult to navigate.


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